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ENQUIRE INTO CONDITIONS AT THE DON JAIL .
HIS HONOUR JUDGE IAN M. MACDONELL
TORONTO, December 5, 1952
The Honourable the Lieutenant-Governor
of Ontario, in Council.
I have the honour to present you v/ith
my Report upon the Inquiry into conditions at the
Toronto Jail, pursuant to Commission dated the
9th September, 1952,
Also submitted is a transcript of the
proceedings, together with the Exhibits filed.
I have the honour to be,
Your obedient Servant,
TABLE OF CONTENTS
(i) Appointment and Terms of
Reference ....... 1
(ii) Events Leading up to
Appointment . . , . . . 2
(iii) Investigation 6
CIRCUMSTANCES CONNECTED VITH ESCAPE
Method of Escape £
Security Measures ....,»...,.. 13
Events Prior to Escape on Night
of September 7-8. Guards on duty:
Stephen Cresswell ........... 1?
William Starkey . » 18
William Charles Ewington . .», 19
John McNulty ...... 20
John A. Thompson ............ 21
William J.G.Kendall 21
Gordon Paul 22
Joseph M. Corrigan 22
(i) Dishonest Guards ..... 2k
(ii) Blades in Shoes 25
(iii) Workmen in Jail 25
(iv) Short-Term Prisoners 25
(v) Quoits 25
Mo . 9 Hospital 23
PART III Page
CONTROL, MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION
OF THE JAIL 29
(a) City 29
(b) Sheriff of the County of York 30
(c) Provincial 32
Morale of Staff
(i) Pensions 35
(ii) Days Off 35
(iii) Salaries 35
(iv) Status of Employees 37
(v) Adequacy of Staff . ., 3#
ADEQUACY OF THE JAIL BUILDING 39
Overcrowding » . . . . 40
Security . , t . . . . f . . 41
Dining Room . . 42
Mental Hospital . ., , . . « 42
Tombs Prison , 43
JAIL STAFF . « 44
Dutie s , , . . . 44
Discipline , 44
Thomas W. Brand 45
George E. Jacobs 49
Alexander Noble 49
Alfred M. Bennett 50
William J. Woodside ... 50
John W. Johnson 51
George A. Heath 51
Dr. William H. Hills 51
Dr. Gordon A. McLarty 52
TREATMENT AND DISCIPLINE OF PRISONERS 53
Treatment *«.,%•............ 53
Comfort , ,.,...... 54
Food .. .. 54
Discipline ...» . . . 55
Exercise » 56
RECOMMENDATIONS . .. ., .... 5#
List of Exhibits 62-65
R OYAL COMMISSION
APPOINTED TO ENQUIRE INTO CONDITIONS
AT THE DON JAIL. TORONTO
(i ) Appointment and Terms of Reference,
By Royal Commission , dated the 9th day of
September, 1952, I was appointed to enquire into and
(a) all the circumstances in any way connected with
the escape from Toronto Jail on or about
September 3, 1952, of Steve Suchan, Leonard Jackson f
Edwin Alonzo Boyd, and William Russell Jackson;
(b) the control, management and administration of the
Toronto Jail and all matters connected therewith
or incidental thereto;
(c) the adequacy of the building with respect to
accommodation and security;
(d) the appointment, duties, discipline and personal
history of the jailor, turnkeys, guards and all
other members of the staff; and
(e) the treatment and discipline of the prisoners
Although the above subjects necessarily
overlap to a considerable extent, I shall endeavour in the
following report to deal with the matter under headings
corresponding to the divisions indicated in the
Commission, and in the same order.
(ii) Events leading up t o Appointment .
On Sunday, the 4th November, 1951, at 8.15 p.m.,
Leonard Jackson, Edwin Alonzo Boyd and William Russell
Jackson escaped from the Toronto Jail by cutting a bar in
a window facing on the exercise yard. The bar was cut by
hacksaw blades operated by men taking turns, in an aperture
between a screen and the window bars. Entrance to this
aperture was made possible by other prisoners milling about
providing a screen and distracting the attention of the
guard. The prisoners used ropes made out of knotted sheets
to descend into the yard, and they had a hook made of metal
which they threw over the coping of the jail wall. This
was possible as Boyd apparently had Commando training.
After investigation two guards, who had been at the jail
for many years, were dismissed for inattention, and the
Governor, Mr. Charles Sanderson, was reprimanded. Sub-
sequently, however, the two guards, because of their long
service, were given non-custodial positions in another
institution, Mr. Sanderson was given what might be
regarded as a promotion: he was appointed Governor of
Fortunately, the men who escaped were
recaptured during the ensuing months, but not before
instances of shooting with the police, during one of which
Sergeant of Detectives Edmond Tong, of the Toronto Police,
was shot by Steve Suchan and Leonard Jackson. The
escape of these dangerous criminals naturally caused
considerable public apprehension, which was increased
somewhat by the escape of one Cunningham in August, 1952.
Cunningham had walked out while in a work gang, but was
soon recaptured. As a result of Cunningham's escape,
Mayor Lamport, of Toronto, wrote the Minister of Reform
Institutions suggesting a conference, but after an interview
with the Deputy Minister he was reassured, and was
content to leave matters in the hands of the Depart-
ment (see Exhibits 14 and 15).
Boyd was returned to the jail on Saturday,
the 15th March, 1952. On this date Colonel Basher,
the Deputy Minister of the Department of Reform
Institutions, went to the jail and discussed security
precautions with the Governor, Thomas W. Brand, who had
succeeded Sanderson as Governor in January, 1952.
Colonel Basher said he issued the following
(1) It was agreed the safest place for Boyd and the
other dangerous prisoners was in what is known as
"No. 9 Hospital", a comparatively small room
formerly used as a hospital, in which four cells
had been inserted. There were two doors to No.
9 Hospital, one with the usual grill covering the
cell corridor, and the other a wooden door with a
small peephole, which could be locked and bolted.
(2) The prisoners should not leave the corridor, and
would be locked in the cells except for exercise
periods in the corridor, under supervision.
(3) All furniture should be removed from the corridor
and the prisoners should be fed, and even have
baths, in the corridor.
(4) If Lawyers desired to see the prisoners they
should do so at the grill.
(5) On the special instructions of the Minister, the
men should be kept under constant supervision at
all times, and that the wooden door should be kept
open for that purpose.
I do not think there is the slightest doubt
that if these precautions had been taken a subsequent
escape would have been impossible. Unfortunately, as
we shall see, not one of the above steps was enforced.
It is greatly to be regretted that Colonel
Basher did not issue the above instructions in the form
of written orders, which could also have been given to
his Inspectors to ensure that the orders were carried
out. During the interim period between escapes, three
inspections of the jail were made by the Inspection
Branch. All Inspectors testified that they had
received no word of the special instructions, and it is
clear that they would certainly have observed trhat the
instructions were not being carried out. Only routine
inspections were made, and the impression which I gained
at the hearings was that emphasis was being placed on
interior economy rather than security matters. Colonel
Basher also said he did not recall telling the Sheriff
of the County of the special instructions.
In his evidence, Mr. Brand indicated that
what took place was more in the nature of a discussion
than the issue of orders by Colonel Basher, but he
acknowledged that it had been agreed that the men should
be under constant supervision and that the wooden
door should be open at all times except while prisoners
from No. 9 Corridor, which is around the corner from
Mo. 9 Hospital, were passing the entrance to No, 9
Hospital. He said that after the discussion with
Colonel Brasher he issued orders accordingly. At first
he testified that he had given oral instructions re the
men in No. 9 Hospital to all the Chief Turnkeys. He
subsequently stated that the instructions had been put
in force by giving them to Mr. George E. Jacobs, the
Senior Deputy Governor, with orders to pass them on to
Mr. Alexander Noble, the Deputy Governor, who carried
out the duties of Chief Turnkey at night, and the four
Chief Turnkeys, who divided the two day shifts and
relieved Mr. Noble on his night off.
Next after Boyd, Leonard Jackson was returned
to the jail in a cast. At first he had to be placed in
No. 3 Hospital because of his condition. It might be
remarked in passing that after the second escape, as a
result of information from prisoners, hacksaw blades were
found on the window ledge of No, 3 Hospital, and the
sawing of bars had commenced.
Suchan came in around the 3rd of April, and
was put in No. 9 Hospital with Boyd, both because of
security and because he was not well, Later he had
to go to the Toronto General Hospital, with three
special guards on duty eight hours each. Subsequently
he was returned to No, 9 Hospital. The two Jacksons
finally were placed in the other two cells in the
On Monday morning, the Sth of September, 1952,
the guard going on duty at No. 9 Corridor, on
the first day shift about 7 a.m., found that all four
prisoners in No. 9 Hospital had escaped.
The second escape of the same men naturally
" caused a wide public outcry, particularly as the murder
trial of Suchan and L. Jackson was set for Tuesday,
It is singular that the escape was not
effected in a slack period, but in one of tension in
which an escape was feared.
An investigation was commenced on the morning
j/ of September lSth by Mr. T.M.Gourlay, Chief Inspector
of Prisons, Department of Reform Institutions, and lasted
all day and night. In addition to Mr. Gourlay, witnesses
were questioned by The Hon. J.W.Foote, V.C., Minister of
Reform Institutions; Colonel G.H. Basher, O.B.E. , Deputy
Minister of Reform Institutions; Colonel J.D.Conover,
Sheriff of the County of York and City of Toronto, and
Inspector of Detectives J. Nimmo, of the Toronto Police
Subsequently, on instructions of the Prime
Minister, Governor Brand, Deputy Governor Noble, and the
guards who had been on duty the night of the escape, were
suspended, and the Royal Commission was promptly
authorized. Colonel Basher, the Deputy Minister, took
over close supervision of the jail, appointing Mr. John A.
Graham, the Governor of Mimico Reformatory, as Acting
Governor. The staff of guards was reinforced by members
of the Ontario Provincial Police.
(iii) Investigation .
Counsel for the Commission were promptly
appointed, and it was decided that hearings would
commence at the earliest possible date. Counsel, with
the assistance of experienced police, prepared to present
the case. On September 17th the Inquiry opened in
York County Council Chamber, with Messrs. J. W. Pickup, Q.C.,
C.P. Hope, Q.C., and J. D. Pickup appearing as Counsel for
the Commission. It was disclosed that the four
escaped prisoners had been recaptured and re-admitted to
the jail early on the morning of the hearing. It was
also learned that it had been decided to proceed at once
with the murder trial of Suchan and Jackson, and that
every effort would be made to dispose of the other charges
against all four prisoners as early as possible.
While the scope of reference was in no way
affected by the recapture of the prisoners, it was
considered that reports of the hearings of the Commission
appearing at the same time in the press as reports of
the trials, as well as other factors, might well interfere
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with fair trials of the prisoners. It was therefore
decided to postpone hearings until trials of all charges
had been completed. This resulted in an unfortunate
but unavoidable delay.
On September l£th the Commissioner, accompanied
by Counsel, visited the jail and made a close examination,
interviewing the Acting Governor and the Chief Turnkey
on duty. Particular attention was paid to No. 9
Hospital, on which repairs were already being made.
It was not found possible to resume the
hearings until Monday, October 20th, when they were
opened in the Judge's Chambers, at the City Hall. In
the interim Mr*. J. W. Pickup, Q.C., the Senior Counsel
for the Commission, had been appointed Chief Justice of
Ontario. He was replaced by Mr. George T. Walsh, Q.C,,
who continued to be assisted by Messrs. C.P. Hope , Q.C.,
and 'J.D. Pickup. Mr. John Deacon appeared as Counsel
for the City of Toronto.
Sittings were held continuously, with only
two days intermission, until they were completed on
November l&th. Over sixty witnesses were called, some
of them several times, and eighty-three Exhibits were
filed. These Exhibits have not been copied, as some of
those in writing are quite voluminous; also some, such as
an excellent and useful model of the jail, made by Det.
Sgt. Inglis of the Toronto Police, are material objects.
Nevertheless they form a material part of this report,
PA RT II
CIRCU MSTANCES CONNECTED WITH ESCAPE
Method of Escape «
It is clear that the escaped prisoners were
last seen in their cells on the last round of the guards
at 4.45 a.m. on the morning of the escape. At that
time the wooden door to the corridor was locked and
bolted. The escape was not reported or noticed by
the night staff which went off duty at 7 a.m. This
was due to the fact that it ^was not the practice for
the relieving officer in charge to make a tour with the
one relieved and make a check. Evidently Governor
Brand believed this was done, as it was required by the
Regulations, but he had never noticed the omission of
Guard George M. Hutchison, who was slated
for the morning shift, came on duty at 6,55 a.m. He
went straight to No. 9 Hospital, with the key for the
wooden door and the cells, accompanied by his partner
on duty. He opened the wooden door and saw that four
bars had been sawed from the window in the corridor
nearest to the grill, and that the prisoners had gone.
The cells were closed, but not locked. Three bars
were found in the corridor and one in William Jackson's
cell. There was a small amount of iron filings on
the windowsill, some of which were fresh, and some a
little older. Also found on the sill were some pieces
of cardboard, which might have been cut from a cigarette
box. These pieces would fit the saw cuts in the bars.
He noticed dissolved soap in the basin in Boyd's cell.
The beds were cold, but one pillow was said to be slightly
warm. There were two benches, one on top of the other,
under the escape window; also a table was located under-
neath a listening microphone which had been installed
in the corridor, and there was a pillow on the table.
Hutchison at once reported to the Chief Turnkey and an
extensive hunt for the prisoners was instituted.
Close examination was subsequently made of
the top of a dividing wall which leads to the sidewall
of the jail, a few feet from the window referred to.
This wall separates what is known as the graveyard from
the service yard of the jail. It runs for a few feet
in an easterly direction, and then northerly to intersect
the main wall on the northerly boundary of the jail
property. The brick walls are fifteen feet high and
twenty two and a half inches wide at the top. The tops
are slightly pointed in the centre, but there would be
no difficult}r in walking on them.. A piece of shingle
on the top of the wall near the window was slightly
disturbed, and pigeon dirt was smudged. The other
dirt on the wall was reported hard to disturb.
For some days no trace was found of the
escaped prisoners. They were finally arrested in a
search of some deserted farm buildings in the Township
of North York on the evening of September 16th.
Police at the time of arrest found on Boyd
a metal key which was later found to open the cell doors
in No. 9 Hospital. It was of thinner metal, but a
clever copy of the regular key. Also found were guns
Boyd and Suchan were quite willing to talk
and gave full details of the method of escape to the
police. As Suchan and Leonard Jackson were sentenced
to death in the week after they were recaptured, no
attempt was made to obtain other statements from them.
Boyd and William Jackson, however , gave a full statement
later (on October 14th) to Inspector Kelly of the
Provincial Police, on being informed that he was fact
finding for the Royal Commission. The various
statements, although given in the absence of the other
prisoners, corresponded to a remarkable degree even in
immaterial details. A summar]^ is as follows:
Boyd said he tried four keys before the one
was made which was found on him. This is borne out by
the fact that a wooden dummy, which would fit the keyhole
but would not turn the lock, was found hidden in the
cell. They tried to make keys out of a cup handle,
shoe horn, etc. and were going to 'give up until they
found a piece of metal under a wooden sill beneath the
radiator. Boyd alleged that the key was finally made
by observing the key which was brought in by the guards.
They had a small piece of a file and used a hacksaw
blade to form the key. The cutting of the bars was
done between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. with hacksaw blades.
Boyd said they were actually cutting for four weeks
before their escape. After they cut the bars they made
a paste of melted soap and sandy dirt off the window to
match the paint on the bars. He said there were not
many filings as they had no handle for the hacksaw blades.
They finally escaped through the window, onto the
wall, about 5 a.m. Edwin Boyd went first, William Jackson
second, Leonard Jackson third, and Suchan fourth. It
was said to the police that the others hoped Suchan
would not make it, as ' ,; he was the cause of Len's trouble,"
They walked to the junction of the boundary wall and
then along that wall to the roof of a garage at the
north-east corner of the graveyard, where they waited
for an hour. They watched two police who were
patrolling the north wall of the jail, from stations
at the north-west and north-east corners. They watched
until nearly six o'clock before the police came together
and there was a relief at the north-east corner of the
jail. About 6 a.m. one officer went back to his
post at the north-west corner and another officer, who
had just come on duty, walked around the front of the
jail to contact the outside jail guard. When a
motorcycle left with the relieved officer they jumped
down over the east side of the wall and proceeded to the
Don Valley. They went up the valley and were chased
by a police officer about S.30 or £.45 a.m. near Leaside
station. It is indicated they separated but finally
assembled in the deserted barn, where they were captured
later. Jackson was said to have disappeared for a
day, returning with a new artificial foot and the guns.
When captured Jackson had on ordinary clothing under his
At first this story was doubted and it was
thought the prisoners might have escaped by some other
route with inside assistance. For instance, there was
a feasible route from No. 9 Hospital downstairs to the
basement, thence through a door to the scullery and out
into the coalyard. Another feasible route was through
a locked door to the graveyard. The most promising
alternative was to pass through a corridor, passing the
showerbaths, and into a hall known as the ;f bull-pen :r ,
and hence out through the receiving door. Of course,
for each route a number of doors would have to be
After hearing all the evidence, I have no
hesitation whatsoever in finding that the way of escape
as related by the prisoners was substantially correct.
This opinion is in accordance with the unanimous view
of the experienced officers of the Department and the
investigating police who were called to testify. As
I have pointed out, although the stories were given
apart from each other, they are almost identical. Also
there is a large amount of corroborative evidence, and
this evidence verifies facts which could not possibly
have been known to the prisoners at the time of the
recapture unless they had been in a position to make
the observations at the places and times related,
I do not think it would be of advantage for
me to outline all the corroborative evidence, but some
of the most important items are as follows:
(a) The description of the movements of the
police outside the jail at the time of escape
corresponds almost exactly with the evidence given
by the officers who were on duty.
(b) The chase around Leaside station was unknown
to the police investigating the escape until they
were informed of it by the prisoners. On hearing
of it they interviewed the C.N.R. officer on duty
at Leaside station at the time, and his evidence
was substantially in accordance with that of the
(c) A wooden model was made of the aperture
through the window, which at first appeared too
small for a man to pass through. Experiments
were made by two well-built police officers, each
over six feet, and they were able to get through
the window, with small difficulty, in the manner
described by the prisoners.
(d) Leonard Jackson, on his second admission,
had been deprived of his artificial foot as a
security measure. On X-ray examination the foot
was found to have a hacksaw blade hidden in it.
Enquiries were made as to how Jackson could have
climbed along the wall, jumped off and make his
way through the Don Valley, for a number of miles,
without a foot. The police were informed that
a tin cup had been used, padded with socks and
torn newspaper. Newspaper torn in the manner
already described had been found in the cell, and
socks soiled as might be expected were also
located. The tin cup was found in the barn in
a position described to the officers, (Exhibit 69)
In addition, it seemed extremely unlikely
that the prisoners would go to all the trouble described,
and undergo the risk involved, solely for the purpose of
covering up their actual means of escape. While it is
possible that all the necessary keys might have been
collected in the hands of the officer in charge of the
night shift, the passage of four men was a very risky
business. Also, in view of the opinion I have formed of
the character of the officers involved, I think this
possibility must be excluded.
Security Measures .
In addition to the foregoing, after listening
to a great mass of evidence, it is obvious that the
security measures in force at the time of the escape
would make an escape as described, although risky, quite
possibl- . It is necessary for me to go into these in
The special security measures prescribed by
Colonel Basher, the Deputy Minister, have already been
set out in Part I, page 3.
At first Boyd was apparently kept in his
cell as described. In the middle of April, 3oyd f s
Lawyer complained that his health might suffer, as
apparently it would be some time before he could be brought
to trial. The Lawyer's letter was passed on from the
Sheriff to Colonel Basher. Even before this correspondence
it appears that Boyd had been taken into the jail yard for
exercise, apart from the other prisoners, contrary to
the instructions. This was not objected to by Colonel
Basher, who also authorized that Boyd be allowed ?T some
limited freedom within the confines of No. 9 Hospital."
This appears to have resulted in Boyd and the others, when
they reached No. 9 Hospital, being allowed in the
corridor all day, Their oell doors were open at all times
except at night when they were locked in their cells, as
were all other prisoners. It should be pointed out
that if the prisoners were in the cells they could not
be seen by the guard outside the end of the corridor.
There is no doubt also that furniture was kept in the
As previously related, Mr. Brand said he
told the Chief Turnkeys to pass on the security
instructions. Even Mr. Jacobs, the Senior Deputy
Governor, who appeared anxious to back up Mr. Brand,
does not agree that he got any such instructions, or
was told to pass them on. Jacobs, Noble, and the four
Chief Turnkeys - Bennett, Woodside, Johnson and Heath,
were all contradictory as to what orders were received,
in fact they indicated there was considerable confusion.
All agreed they had been told to be particularly careful
as these wore dangerous prisoners. None acknowledged
that they were told to have a man outside the door of
No. 9 Hospital at all times, in fact all agreed that
this would be impossible with the staff available, Mr.
Brand alone said if there was not constant supervision
this was against his orders, but even his evidence
indicates that the men were not available to carry this
The evidence is also extremely conflicting
about keeping the wooden door open at all times. Written
orders in the Order Book, which were never changed,
required that it be closed. Mr. Brand said that for the
first month after Boyd came in it was kept closed, as it
was desired to isolate the occupants of the Hospital from
the other prisoners, but he said on the expiration of the
month he gave orders that it was to be open at all times
except when prisoners were coming from No. 9 Corridor
and were passing the door- of the Hospital. Only one
of the Chief Turnkeys seems to agree that the door was
to be kept open as described by Mr. Brand. I have no
hesitation in finding on the evidence that no change was
ever made of the practice which had been in force for a
long time. During the night shift, between 5 a.m. and
7 a.m., particularly on Monday mornings, the work of
those on duty became extremely heavy. The prisoners who
were to prepare breakfast had to be aroused, and the
preparation of breakfast commenced; the prisoners for
court had to be awakened and fed. As a result of the
foregoing, the wooden door of No. 9 Hospital was locked
at the time of the last punch of the time clock before
5 a.m. and only by chance was there any observation
inside No. 9 Hospital from 5 a.m. until the day shift came
on at 7 a.m. I think it is obvious that this became
known to the prisoners, and was one of the principal
factors which made the escape possible.
Events Prior to Escape on Night of September 7-8.
In order to understand the situation at
night, it is necessary to go back to the regime of
Governor Sanderson, For reasons which were not very-
convincing as related in evidence, he decided to relieve
Mr. Noble of his duties as Chief Turnkey during the
day shifts, which were considered the most important.
At first he put him on unimportant work, such as
censoring mail, etc. Finally, about a month before Mr.
Sanderson left, Mr. Noble was placed permanently in
charge of the night shift, except on nights off, when
he was relieved by Mr, Jacobs or one of the Chief
Turnkeys. During his term of office, in order to make
a better distribution of the staff, which was admittedly
short at all times, Mr. Sanderson reduced the night
staff to twelve men, and instituted a patrol system.
Mr. Noble at once objected to this in writing, contending
that more men were needed at night, but the staff
remained at a maximum of twelve. (See Exhibit 60 -
Instructions Governor Sanderson to Mr. Noble, December
#, 1951). This number was reduced by days off,
holidays, illness and absenteeism; often as low as five
men would report, who sometimes had to look after as
many as five to six hundred prisoners from 11 o'clock
at night until 7 o'clock in the morning. That such a
staff is adequate is contrary to all common sense.
In addition to the lack of men, Noble
complains that he did have four good men on the night
shift and found them all gone on his return from
Both Jacobs and Noble stated that they
complained to Mr. Brand about the lack of staff. Mr.
Brand agreed the staff was low, but mentioned the
difficulty in obtaining replacements. While Mr. Brand
did not say he had informed Colonel Brasher that he could
not carry out the special security arrangements by reason
of lack of staff, he did obtain from the Department authority
for more guards in the Summer of 1952. However, due to
turnover, a net increase of two was the largest that took
place. The attendance records, which Mr. Brand said he
looked at every day, clearly show the small number of
men on duty at night. Both Jacobs and Noble stated that
this situation was known to the Governor, and in fact
there were occasions when he had given instructions
authorizing men to have time off, which reduced, in Mr.
Noble *s opinion, the night staff below the danger point.
I do not think either Mr. Sanderson or Mr. Brand fully
realized the situation at night, particularly between the
hours of 5 a.m. and 7 a.m., when, there is no doubt in
my mind, there was not sufficient staff to carry out the
extra security in No. 9 Hospital, having regard to the
fact that there were many other dangerous prisoners in
the jail. Mr. Brand was in the jail at night only two
or three times, and never between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m.
On the night of the escape there were eight
men on duty in charge of Noble:
Stephen Cres swell. This guard had been at one time a
Deputy Governor but had been demoted. His regular duty
was to patrol the outside of the jail from 11 p.m. to
6 a.m., less an hour for lunch. At 6 a.m. he came in
to assist with the prisoners. His duties were to patrol
around the jail and punch four stations, one in each
corner of the outside wall. On the night of the escape
apparently he duly made his rounds and contacted two
policemen who were patrolling the jail at the back. As
we have seen, he was in front of the jail going off duty
at 6 a.m. and therefore did not see the prisoners get
down off the east wall. In any event, it was dark at
6 a.m. Also Cresswell stated he mainly directed his
attention to the front of the jail, as the police were
at the back. Cresswell and the policemen all were of
the opinion that their main worry was attempts at rescue
by persons outside the jail; the policemen were not
apprehensive of a second escape, as they believed that
adequate precautions were being taken by the jail staff.
William Starkey - a guard since 1927, was stationed at the
front door. He had three doors to look after,- the
outside door, the grill just inside the outside door, and
a grill into the main rotunda, or i? dome i? . He had charge
of the jail keys, but apparently did not check which
guards took them. His duties also were (while not
otherwise engaged) to listen in the Governor's office to
the microphone listening in to No. 9 Hospital. He
was relieved by guard Ewington from 2,30 a.m. to 3.30 a.m.,
and when he returned he was told by Ewington that he had
heard a banging noise in No. 9 Hospital; this had been
reported to Noble, who had gone to the Hospital to
investigate. Earlier in the evening Starkey had
received a telephone call from Det. Sgt. Bolton, in
charge of Toronto Police Headquarters, College Street,
asking if anything was wrong. Apparently Bolton had made
similar checks before, as he was apprehensive of an
escape attempt. This call was reported to Noble.
Starkey was busy at the inside gate from 5-30 t>o 6.10 a.m.
As prisoners were loose in the rotunda no one was
listening to the microphone at that time.
William Charles Ewington had been at the jail since
1951, and was detailed for what is known as Kitchen
Duties on the night of September 7-3. He relieved
Cresswell at 1.30 for luncheon period as outside guard;
he went in at 2.30 and relieved Starkey for his lunch
period. At 2.45 a.m. he heard slight metallic noises
over the microphone, as if someone were handling some-
thing, and then a loud pounding noise. He became alarmed
and phoned Noble at the picket box. Noble told him to
stay and listen by the microphone and he would go to No.
9 Hospital, Noble returned at 3.30 a.m. and asked
Ewington if he had heard any more. Ewington replied
that he had not, and Noble said he himself had not heard
a sound. At 3.45 a,m, Ewington went into the rotunda
and started to make out the morning count of the men he
had to feed. It should be explained that the Kitchan
man was considered a heavy job, and a capable man was
needed. Ewington proceeded with his work, waking up
men and seeing that breakfast was provided for those who
had to be fed. One hundred and ten extra men had to be
fed that morning.
It will be seen that it was essential that
three men should be detailed each night for the above
duties. Any other men on duty are used for inside
patrol. The custom was that four men were on regular
patrol duty; if other men were available they would be
used on relief. Also, if a man was available, he was
often sent to watch outside No. 9 Hospital.
On the night of September 7-$ there were
five men inside, one acting as relief. The men
patrolled in pairs, first taking one wing and then the
other. If they were not on other duties the two men not
on patrol were posted outside No. 9 and No. 3 corridors,
as these contained most of the penitentiary type of
Each round takes approximately twenty five
minutes, although the times are staggered slightly. At
the end of each corridor, including No. 9 Hospital 5 one
man, who has the keys, unlocks the door, and lets the
other guard in to punch the time clock which he carries.
John McNulty was one of the other guards on duty on the
night of the escape. He is 50 years of age, and has
been five years on the staff, mostly on night duty.
He started off the night paired with guard Thomson.
The other team was guards Paul and Kendall, with guard
Corrigan on relief. Noble accompanied McNulty and
Thompson on the first visit to No. 9 Hospital at 11.10 p.m.
There was a night light in the hospital. The usual
routine was followed - flashlights were turned on the men
in their cells and also on the windows and bars. While
McNulty cannot remember whether the wooden door was open
or closed in the early part of the night, he agreed with
the overwhelming weight of other evidence that it was
always locked on the last punch, in accordance with long
standing orders from all the Chief Turnkeys. He
considered that the prisoners would know this well.
McNulty said that the guard not on round or otherwise
engaged would be sent to the platform outside No. 9
Hospital. He was so placed at 2.16 a.m., 2.4$ a.m.
and 3.19 a.m. At 3*35 a.m. while he and his partner
were punching the clock they let Noble into No. 9
Hospital. He said Noble stood in front of the door
until 4 a.m. because of the noises. Noble told them
to be quiet as he did not wish to disclose that he was
listening outside the corridor, McNulty also said he
tried the door of No. 9 Hospital and looked into the
peephole when they went to get prisoners from No. 9
corridor, at 6,30 a.m. He said the cell doors were
closed, but it was a very dim light and he could not see
John A. Thompson was only employed on August 17, 1952,
and was put on night duty at once. As already stated,
he made his first round with McNulty, and Noble accompanied
them. McNulty stayed outside No. 9 after the round
was completed. Thompson made a round about 2 a.m. with
Corrigan, at which time Noble was in the rotunda. Later,
about 3 a.m., Noble told Thompson to come with him as
he had heard a noise. They went to the landing, finding
McNulty there. Noble waited until the round came around
with the clock and went inside. He remembers Noble saying
someone had called and it was necessary to be particularly
careful throughout the night. He said he stayed on the
landing with Noble until 3.40 a.m. when he started the
next round, and that Noble was still there when they got
back at 4.10 a.m. He says that this Monday morning
was the busiest since he had been there, as there were
25 to 30 men in beds in each corridor, apart from the
William J.G.Kendall had been a guard for three years,
mostly on night duty. He was at first teamed with Paul
and said that Noble went in with him on his next visit to
No. 9 Hospital when he made his punch. He said no one
was left in front of the hospital on this round, but on
his round about 2.45 a.m. he saw Noble and Thompson
listening outside No. 9 Hospital. The last punch was
made at 4.45 a.m. when no one was outside the door.
Paul went in and made the- usual check. Kendall says he
locked the wooden door with the key which he obtained from
the night key cabinet. Kendall was positive that
Noble had told him to lock the wooden door on the last
round and that he had done this when all the other Chief
Turnkeys and Deputy Governor Jacobs were relieving at
night: no Chief Turnkey had ever told him to leave the door
open from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. He remarked that he heard
Leonard Jackson ask Paul the time about 2.30 a.m. and that
it was usual when giving the time that it be varied a
little bit either way.
Gordon Paul had only been on the staff since August 22nd
1952, and had always been on night duty. He commenced
rounds with Kendall and says that he remained in the
T 'dome s? between rounds. On one of his rounds Leonard
Jackson asked him if he could keep a little quieter, but
he did., not reply. On his last trip, about 4.30 a.m.,
he saw all four faces of the prisoners. He said he could
not just remember seeing anyone posted outside No. 9
Hospital that night.
Joseph M. Corrigan came from Scotland, and commenced
working at the jail on the 12th May, 1952, shortly after
his arrival from Scotland. He started on night duty
the last ten days of August, He made it clear that it
was necessary during the first punch round to make a
count of the prisoners and inspect the punishment cells
and the basement. As he was relief man he had to fill
in on a number of duties, besides relieving on the
rounds. He remembers seeing McNulty on the landing with
a view into No. 9 Hospital, and later seeing Noble,
Thompson and McNulty on this landing. He was motioned. t,o
keep quiet so that their presence would not be known to
the prisoners. On a later punch he saw Noble, Thompson
and Kendall there. Later he relieved on the front door
and heard about the noise from Ewington. He listened
at the microphone but reported all quiet to Starkey, who
took over from him.
It will be seen from the above that two of
the men on duty had practically no experience, and one
had very little, I did not form a particularly high
opinion of the ability of two others, and the most
efficient man had to be placed on kitchen duties. Under
the circumstances, I think Mr. Noble, who was in charge,
did the best he couldc In his evidence Mr. Brand was
very definite in laying the blame for the escape on
Noble. Colonel Basher appeared to concur in this to
some extent. I do not find this is justified. I think
it is obvious that if the door of No. 9 Hospital had been
left open with a guard outside, between the hours of 5 a.m.
and 7 a.m., the escape would not have been possible, and
1 cannot find that steps were taken by Mr. Brand to
ensure that this was done. The routine for guarding
dangerous prisoners full time was well established. It
was always adopted when No. 9 Hospital was used as a death
cell: three extra guards, one for each shift, were
detailed to sit outside the grill, with the wooden door
open. When Suchan went to the Toronto General Hospital
three men were detailed for guard duty. I asked Mr.
Brand why the same men could not have been put outside No.
9 Hospital. His reply was that the holiday period was at
hand and he had not sufficient - I fully realize
that Mr, Brand was trying to do the best he could under
trying conditions, which I shall go into more fully
later, but it seems to me that the failure to keep the
four prisoners under constant observation must rest on
his shoulders. If he had not sufficient men to carry
out Colonel Basher's instructions, he should have so
informed Colonel Basher.
Saw Blades .
It is of course obvious that the escape
would not have been possible if saw blades had not been
obtained by the prisoners. It is clear, however, that
it has been possible for some time for saw blades to get
into the jail. Some of the ways in which this might
be effected are as follows:
(i ) Dishonest Guards.
A guard by the name of Morrison, who had been
hired in May 1952, fell under suspicion. He had been
seen in conversation with Leonard Jackson when he was
confined in No. 3 Hospital. When accused he admitted
that he had agreed to help Jackson get out He said
he supplied Jackson with a screwdriver, and carried letter;
between Jackson and his wife.. He was communicated with
by one Watson, who had been a prisoner at the jail and
was on bail. Watson was well-known as a bad character;
at the present time he is serving an extended term in
Kingston Penitentiary for bribing Morrison, and for
counterfeiting. Morrison said he received a number of
the right type of saw blades from Watson. He was firm,
however, in saying he never gave these to Jackson, but
on instructions gave them to Jackson's wife. Jackson's
wife testified that she never received any blades from
Morrison. There is a distinct possibility that she
telling the truth, and that the blades were smuggled
by Morrison, Although there is no definite evid<
bring home dishonesty to any other guards, at least
who was said to have been seen talking to Watson and
Morrison, is under suspicion. It is also clear that
Jackson made a number of overtures to guards, who said
they refused to have anything to do with him.
( i i ) Blades in Shoe s.
We have already seen that a blade was brought
in in Jackson's false foot. Care is being taken to try
and detect blades in shoes, but this is always a
possibility. In fact, at the time of the escape steps
were being taken by the Sheriff and the City to obtain a
fluorescope machine for detecting blades.
(iii) Workmen in Jail.
From time to time there are a number of
workmen making repairs in the jail, who might smuggle in
(iv) Short-Term Prisoners .
The staff are at all times apprehensive that
contraband might be brought in by short-term prisoners,
and by some means passed along to the more dangerous
prisoners. In this connection, it should be observed
that in order to raise the morale of the prisoners by
occupying their time, certain games were introduced which
sometimes resulted in teams going from one corridor to
another. This practice ha* now, I believe, been
In order to improve the morale of prisoners,
they were not forced to walk around the exercise yard,
and a game of quoits was instituted. These quoits were
made from pieces of ordinary rubber hose, wired in the
form of a circle: there were at times about 20 of them
lying around the yard. There was gossip in the jail
among prisoners at the time of the escape that the blades
for the escape of Boyd et al had been brought in by means
of secreting them in quoits and throwing them over the
jail wall. The evidence indicates this was a distinct
possibility; while prisoners are searched after exercise
they are not stripped,
(vi ) Keys.
It is evident that a key to the cells of No.
9 Hospital was essential to the escape. The key, as we
have seen, was an improvised one, and was found on Boyd
when arrested. Boyd said it was made from metal which
he found under a sill oi wood in the cell. I doubt
very much if this is the truth. In all probability the
piece of metal was obtained from outside as were the saw
blades. I do not think Boyd's story that the key was
made simply by observing the keys in the hands of the
guards should be credited. Expert evidence indicated,
however, that it would be possible to make a key by
putting grease on a piece of metal which would fit into
the lock and then observing where the lands and grooves
of the lock interfered with the grease. It was
possible for prisoners locked in the cells to put their
hands through the bars and reach the lock. Boyd said
he had a file as well as the hacksaw blades, I think,
however, there are distinct possibilities that the
prisoners, or someone outside, could have obtained
possession of one of the keys of the cells of No. 9
Hospital, which were kept in the key cabinets.
In my opinion the system of handling the keys
in the jail was grossly inefficient. In fact, no one ied
to know how many keys there were and no one was responsible
for their custody. The keys were kept in three cabinets
located in the corridor outside the Governor f s office.
The man on the door was supposed to be in charge of the
keys, but I think it was established on the evidence that
anyone on the custodial staff could help himself to any
keys desired at any time., This is particularly so at
night. Starkey, the guard on duty on the door at night,
was decidedly vague about the keys. In fact, he said
there were only two cabinets, whereas as a matter of fact
there are three.
The estimates of the number of keys to the
cells in No, 9 Hospital in existence varied from two to
four. Some thought that two were in the key cabinets,
one for day and one for night use, and that two were
locked up in a safe in the Governor's office. However,
about the time of the escape a third key was found hanging
in one of the cabinets.
When prisoners are admitted to the jail they
are at once put into jail clothing , including
underwear and boots. The outer clothing is made out of
blue denim, indistinguishable from that in general use
by working men. Consequently a prisoner once he has
passed the jail door could walk along the street without
the slightest suspicion being aroused. It appears that
the practice of using specially marked clothing was
discontinued about twenty five years ago owing to a change
of policy in the Department. This has been adopted ss
a matter of reform generally in penal institutions. It
is doubted whether this report will affect this established
policy, but I feel I should express my considered view
that distinctive clothing is desirable as a security
measure in institutions such as the Don Jail.
No, 9 Hospital .
All parties seem to agree that this was the
safest place in the jail. Here again, however, the
element of luck favoured the prisoners. During the
regime some years ago of Colonel Basher as Governor,
another escape took place out of the same window, using
the wall as a means of escape. Colonel Basher therefore
had the window bricked up and extra security type bars
placed on the other windows. However, at a later date
the window at the end of the room was closed, and to provide
more ventilation the brickwork was removed, hence old
bars of a soft type of steel were all that the prisoners
had to cope with. These facts were apparently over-
looked, or were unknown, to the present senior officers
of the staff. Actually, the escape window was chosen
by the prisoners because it was thought more difficult
to observe by the guards.
There are lights on the outside of the
jail building which light up the yards at the rear of the
jail, but apparently these were not used except when
there were men in the exercise yard. Other lights were
provided at the top of the boundary walls, but these shone
outwards, and all witnesses agreed that they would make
it impossible for persons patrolling outside of the walls
to see anyone on the top. This condition has been
remedied since the escape. It should also be remarked
that the window of No. 9 Hospital was not visible to
outside patrols unless they walked back a considerab]
distance from the walls. No one had it under ob. tion
on the night of the escape.
CONTROL, MANAGEMENT AND ADMINISTRATION
OF THE JAIL.
The relevant statutes of the Province of
Ontario relating to the control of the jail have been
collected and filed as Exhibit 2. There is what might
be termed a three-fold control:
(a ) City .
From early times in this Province it has been
the responsibility of the County to maintain a court house
and a county jail. The Municipal Act, R.S.O. (1950)
Chapter 243, section 367, also enables a City to erect
a jail. In the County of York the City Jail, or Don
Jail as it is known, is used as the jail for both the
County and the City of Toronto,, The statutory liability
to provide for the jail is assumed by the City, which is
reimbursed by the County for its share. The Municipal
Council is required to ;: keep the jail in repair and
provide the food, fuel and other supplies required for
it." The Municipal Act further provides that the I; care"
of the jail or court house of a city shall be regulated
by Bylaw of its Council - (section 373).
Expenses of the Toronto Jail are looked after
by the City Property Department, under the direction of
the Board of Control. The City Paymaster also pays the
salaries of the employees. The City is reimbursed by
the Province to some extent of the cost of maintenance of
prisoners charged with certain offences. I do not think
the terms of reference require that I should enter into
the division of cost as between the Province and the
The evidence indicates that the Provincial
officials, the Sheriff and the Governor have always been
satisfied with the co-operation of the Property Department
Supplies and maintenance have been adequate, and every
effort is made to carry out suggestions.
On the other hand, the jail is inspected
several times each year by Supreme and County Court Grand
Juries, whose presentments are forwarded to the Board of
Control. For years these presentments have condemned
the accommodation and conditions at the jail, but their
representations have been ignored (see Exhibit 40).
(b) The S h eriff of the County of York.
The Municipal Act, (section 369, ss.l)
also provides that the Sheriff shall have the !1 care r; of
the County Jail, which would appear to be somewhat
contradictory to section 373 referred to above.
In practice in the County of York, the
Sheriff acts as liason between the Governor of the jail
and the Department of Reform Institutions, although in
some matters they deal directly. The Sheriff,
largely through his deputy, exercises general supervision
of the jail.
Up to 194$ the Sheriff hired the guards
and made appointments in theory, but never actually did
so. Since that time he has interviewed applicants for
guards and if they are considered possibilities he sends
them to the Governor. If the Governor agrees that an
applicant is acceptable he has him given a medical exam-
ination and returns him to the Sheriff's office. A
detailed application form is made out and at least two
references obtained. The documents are then forwarded
to the Department with recommendation for appointment by
Order-in-Council. Apparently criminal records are only
verified in cases of suspicion. However, there is no
case on record where a guard with a criminal record has
been hired. Unfortunately, due to working conditions,
and in particular low wages, there has recently been a
lack of applicants, and in spite of all efforts by the
Sheriff it has been impossible to keep up the authorized
strength. The situation is further aggravated by a large
turnover of 2 5 to k-0% caused by low morale of the guards.
The Sheriff is asked his opinion by the
Department of Reform Institutions on the appointment of
the Governor. Such appointments and those of the senior
officers are made by Order-in-Council on the recommendation
of the Minister of Reform Institutions. Sheriff Conover,
the present Sheriff, agreed to Governor Brand's appoint-
ment when it was suggested by Colonel Basher, although he
did not know Mr. Brand. He said that he has found Mr,
Brand an excellent officer, co-operative , interested, and
with constructive ideas.
With regard to the other officers, I gathered
the Sheriff's opinion to be that there was difficulty in
finding officers with sufficient executive ability for
the senior posts. He was, however, of opinion that the
Chief Turnkeys generally were capable.
Careful consideration has been given by me
to the functions performed by the Sheriff. There is no
doubt in my mind that the three-fold control causes
confusion. The Governors were frank in saying they
were in doubt as to where to look for their orders.
I have no doubt also that their authority was limited.
I think that a capable Governor, with adequate assistance,
should be able to carry on without the assistance and
control of the Sheriff. I realize the situation is
entirely different in other counties; jails are often
small, with limited staff, and the close supervision of
a responsible official, such as the Sheriff, is
eminently desirable. Toronto is however the headquarters
of the Department of Reform Institutions. Also here
the Sheriff is located in the City Hall, which is nearly
three miles from the jail. As he has no office in the
jail his difficulty in exercising supervision is
apparent. There is obviously much duplication in
the hiring of guards, which a qualified jail staff should
be able to eliminate. All officials questioned by me
at the hearings agreed that the Sheriff might well be
eliminated from the set-up. >s
(c ) Provincial .
The Department of Reform Institutions is
charged with the administration of The Jails Act, R.S.O.
(1950) Chapter lSS, which provides for the administration
and inspection of jails. This Act (section 9) furnishes
machinery to remedy the situation if an Inspector finds the
common jail in any County or City "to be out of repair,
unsafe or unfit for the confinement of prisoners or.......
if it does not afford sufficient space or room for the
number of prisoners usually confined therein." After
a conference between the Inspector and a Committee
appointed by the municipality, the matter is referred to
the Lieutenant Governor in Council. The County Council
is required to provide for the making of repairs,
alterations or adaitions as required by the decision of
the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
Prior to 1943 The Municipal Act provided that
the Sheriff, in addition to having the care of the County
Jail, "shall have the appointment of the jailor, jail
surgeon and other officers of the jail," Since 194$,
however, the authority to appoint the jailor, jail
surgeon and other jail employees and fix the salaries
payable by the County or City is vested in the Lieutenant
Governor in Council.
The Department of Reform Institutions is
also vested with the administration of The Penal and
Reform Institutions Inspection Act, R.S.,0. (1950) Chapter
273, and under this Act a jail under The Municipal Act
is a "penal and reform institution subject to the Act."
The Toronto Jail is regularly inspected by
Inspectors of the Department of Reform Institutions, who
report through the Deputy Minister to the Minister. Mr.
Gourlay, the Chief Inspector, and Inspectors Ayres and
Irvine, who made inspections of the jail prior to the
escape, were called as witnesses. It is obvious that
with sixty two institutions in the Province to inspect,
close supervision cannot be maintained by the present
staff. The reports indicated that general conditions
were good, as were discipline and management. Some
improvements in security were suggested, which were
carried out by the City. There was, however, no
condemnation of the unsatisfactory conditions disclosed
by this report, or a finding of insufficient accommodation
under section 9 of The Jails Act. Undoubtedly these
conditions had existed for so long that some complacency
It is conceded that inspections by the
Provincial Inspectors was not as detailed as those by the
jail officers; emphasis is placed on the carrying out of
the Departmental ulations for Reform Institutions
(Exhibit 5); complaints are heard from prisoners, and there
is a check-up on discipline and interior economy. As
previously pointed out, however, there was no knowledge of
special security instructions ^iven by the Deputy Minister
with regard to the prisoners in No. 9 Hospital, hence no
effort was made to see that these were carried out.
Although, as I say, close supervision
cannot be maintained by the present staff of the
Inspection Branch of the Department of Reform Institutions,
it is obvious that the Governor operates directly under
the authority of the Department, and must have recommenda-
tions for any important changes approved by the
Department., The Department exercises control by
bulletins issued from time to time.
Practically all witnesses called agreed
that the morale of the custodial staff of the jail was
low. There are a number of reasons for this. In
the first place, the work is exacting and hazardous.
The hours are long; six days of eight hours each (less
one hour for lunch) per week. While on duty a guard
is not allowed to leave the jail without permission.
The jail is often grossly overcrowded; with a capacity
of 3 Si prisoners there have been as many as 621. Guards
have to go alone, and unarmed, into corridors containing
dangerous prisoners. During the daytime there is a
constant movement, which has to be supervised by the
guards. Another contributing factor is lack of
promotion. In addition, the following factors have
adversely affected morale:
( i ) Pensions,
Before 1946 guards received a pension from
the City. By legislation in that year the power to grant
such pensions was revoked. In 194$ authority to provide
pensions was again enacted. Unfortunately, two guards
retired in the interim and received no pension allowance
whatsoever; one of these, Alfred King, is still alive.
Obviously he has been unfairly treated, and special
provision should be made for him. His situation is known
and affects the morale of all the staff.
Under the legislation passed in 194$, a
pension may be obtained, but it is necessary for old
employees to make a cash payment to cover back payments
in order to obtain pensions under The Public Service Act,
A number, including senior officers, have been unable to
raise the necessary amount. For example, Doput}' Governor
Noble would have to pay some ;!>4,000.00.
(ii) Days Off.
Also prior to 194$, one and a half days per
month was allowed for sick time, and if not used these
days could be accumulated to a maximum of six months.
These were cancelled without notice (although many of the
staff had substantial accumulations) as it was considered
there was no statutory authority since 194$ to make the
payments. Although sick pay regulations are now again in
force, there is considerable absenteeism caused by
reason of the desire to take full advantage of sick time,
as there is a feeling that accumulations might again be
( i i i ) Salaries .
In the past, particularly during the
depression, the position of guard at the jail was
considered a desirable one, and this resulted in a good
type being appointed. It is now most difficult to
attract the desired type, largely because of inadequate
remuneration . This, in my opinion, applies to senior
officers as well as guards.
In 1946 the remuneration of a guard (turnkey)
was sl >1400.00, plus $168.00 cost of living bonus, which
was the same as for civil servants. In this year the
cost of living bonus was incorporated in the salary,
which was fixed at $1600.00.
In 194$ there was an increase in the starting
rate to ,^1750,00, In the same year the Provincial
Government commenced paying a cost of living bonus, but
owing to a disagreement respecting the legal position,
Toronto guards were never paid this. This unfortunate
difference of opinion resulted in considerable delay in
increases for the guards.
In 1951, as a result of representations by
the guards and the Sheriff, the starting salary was
raised to $2240.00. An increase was given to other
guards, bringing their salary to ; p2400. It was also
provided that the guards would get an increase of $100,00
per year, if recommended, up to a maximum of $2640,00.
While these increases have been substantial,
it is obvious that they have not kept pace with the general
increase in other wages during the period. The present
wage is lower than that of much unskilled labour, and
married men complain that they are unable to live on the
money. The amount received should be compared with the
wages of police in the Toronto area (Exhibit Si) and with
those for similar duties. For example, at Burwash guards
arc paid $2340. to :2640. , but are provided with very low
rental quarters: a single man pays only '^26,00 monthly for
room and board.
At the hearing it was reported that the
salaries of guards was presently under review.
Undoubtedly the matter must be speedily settled. In
addition, the salaries of the senior officers should be
carefully reviewed, to make sure that men of adequate
ability are attracted.
While the Governor is provided with a house,
this in effect keeps him on duty 24 hours a day. He
receives in addition to the house #4,000.00, plus heat,
The Senior Deputy Governor is paid #3300.00;
the Deputy Governor $3140.00, and the Chief Turnkeys
receive less than $3000,00. The difficulty of obtaining
men with good executive ability for this kind of
remuneration is apparent,
( i v ) Status of Emp lo yees *
Witnesses also agreed that the morale of the
employees is materially affected by uncertainty concerning
their status. Jail employees in the past were no doubt
municipal employees. It has now been ruled that they
are Provincial employees, but their salaries are paid by
the municipality. hen applications have been made to
the Provincial authorities for an increase in salary,
the employees have been informed that while the Govern-
ment has the power to fix the salaries, these are paid
by the City and the Government hesitated to raise them
unless the City agreed, and therefore it would be
advisable to approach the municipal authorities. On t]
other hand, the municipal authorities hav ken thi
stand that the matter is up to the Province, and the
City contends that it has never objected to pay any
increases indicated by the Province. Undoubtedly this
uncertainty must be removed, and the status of jail
employees as Provincial employees should be recognized,
( v ) Adequacy of Staff .
There is no doubt in my mind that the staff
is overworked, Quite apart from the factors mentioned
above, I have formed the opinion, upon the evidence,
that the authorized staff of the jail is not large enough.
To remedy what I consider is a dangerous situation, I
think the staff should at once be increased to 95 custodial
officers, divided into 40 men on the day shift; 2$ on the
afternoon shift, and 22 on night shift, with 5 extra men
for emergencies, such as sickness, etc.
ADEQUACY OF THE JAIL BUILDING
The building of the Toronto jail was
completed in 1S69. When opened it was considered one
of the finest penal institutions on the continent.
It was intended for prisoners serving short sentences and
for those on remand. The capacity of the jail, as
already mentioned, is 341 male prisoners, and 40 female
prisoners. Details are given in Exhibit 12,. If the
type of prisoners were now the same as that for which
the jail was originally designed, and the number of
prisoners were kept within the limits of accommodation,
in my opinion the jail is still reasonably adequate.
Unfortunately , however, the jail has become in effect
a miniature penitentiary, Since it was opened the
population of the area to be served has increased about
fourteen times. The jail has to serve as a clearing
house for all prisoners of the County. It is true that
only those prisoners serving very short sentences, or
those necessary for the maintenance of the jail itself,
are kept in the jail. The other short-term prisoners
are looked after in Provincial institutions: any serving
sentences for three months and longer are definitely
removed. Unfortunately, however, there is always a
considerable population of dangerous criminals, of what
is termed the "Kingston type. A number of these
are on remand awaiting trial. Also men sentenced to
the penitentiary, who have not signed a waiver of appeal,
are entitled to remain in the jail for thirty days.
It is not uncommon for experienced prisoners to wait
until the last day anc' then serve notice of appeal.
This involves further delay for transcription of
evidence, preparation, etc. The prisoners often ask
for adjournments in order to remain in the jail, A
large number of appeals are frivolous, many being in
writing. Lately the number of abandoned appeals has
been increasing. In addition, new trials are sometimes
ordered by the Court of Appeal; two trials and two
appeals are not unusual. The time involved in this
can well be realized. Not infrequently prisoners
remain in the jail up to two, or even three years.
At one time twenty ringleaders of a revolt at Burwash
Industrial Farm were sent to the Toronto Jail when it
was overcrowded. The shortness of staff to cope with
this situation is obvious, and a most unsatisfactory, and
in fact dangerous, condition has resulted, which should
be remedied with the least possible delay.
It is clear that in the past the jail has
been grossly overcrowded. As mentioned above, as
many as 621 prisoners were there on one occasion. An
effort has been made to keep this down by moving prisoners
as quickly as possible; nevertheless, the Governor has
no option but to admit prisoners sent him. It is
obvious that overcrowding will result again in the
future, particularly in the "'inter, during which season
the jail population is highest.
Quite apart from the number of prisoners,
the jail is inadequate because of the great turnover.
There have been as many as 169 new prisoners in one day.
As many as 150 have been known to be admitted on a
Sunday, and half of these bailed out by the afternoon.
Over 20,000 a year pass through the jail, or approximately
one-third of all the prisoners in Ontario. Apparently
in the daytime it is rare if there is not a patrol
wagon of some kind or another at the admittance door.
The handling facilities for this turnover are entirely
inadequate. Sometimes as many as fifty prisoners are
waiting in what is known as the "bull pen ;f with little
There is no doubt that security of the
jail building is as good as when it was built. It
is not as old as many jails in this country and in the
United States. The location is satisfactory, as a
clearing house must be central. It is clean and
sanitary. On the other hand, the jail is well behind
the times by modern standards. Naturally it is
obsolete, and the weight of evidence is that it cannot
be satisfactorily modernized at a reasonable cost.
The principal reason for this is because the cell walls
are carrying walls. The cells are small and have no
plumbing fixtures. The security is inadequate to deal
with the ''Kingston type' of prisoners.
It has been mentioned that it is impossible
to lock and unlock cell doors except by an unarmed guard
going into the corridors filled with dangerous
prisoners. Modern jails have automatic locking devices
which may be operated outside grills at the end of
corridors. It is also impossible for a guard at the
end of a corridor to see into the cells, and prisoners
in corridors have access to the windows. th modern
design there is a corridor next to the windows which
guards may patrol and look into individual cells. Lie
tool proof steel is very expensive, and only necessary
in certain places, the steel used for bars in the Don
Jail is outmoded.
Dining Room .
Generally speaking, all prisoners are fed
in the dining room, which accommodates one hundred men,,
and which is reached by a gallery in the "dome". As
there are no facilities for feeding prisoners in the
corridors, even dangerous prisoners must be moved into
the dining room, with inadequate supervision,
Mental. Hospital ,
This is located in a room 23 ft. by 3^ ft.,
which is said to have space for twelve beds. It is
generally fairly full and often overcrowded. All
prisoners remanded for mental examination are put in
this hospital, whether violent or not. There are no
facilities for quietening patients other than sedatives,
and violent patients have to be tied to the bed. This
is only supposed to be done under orders of a doctor,
but it does not need much imagination to suspect what
might happen when the doctor is not readily available.
Two prisoners act as orderlies.
The Toronto Psychiatric Hospital was designed
to look after this type of prisoner. Unfortunate^
this is impossible due to the capacity of that hospital,
which has only sixty beds and has to handle all patients
in the city including those without criminal elements.
It is apparently not unusual that a man guilty of no
crime but suspected of insanity is charged with vagrancy
in order to get him into custody for examination. He
goes to the jail mental hospital.
In my opinion the situation in the menl
hospital can only bu described as disgraceful in a
m o d e r n c o mmun i t y .
Tombs Prison ,
As an example of a modern prison, a
description was given by Colonel Basher of the newly-
erected Tombs Prison, in New York City, This is a
22 storey building situated on a busy thoroughfare.
On the lower four floors all tool-proof steel is used.
There are automatic electric alarm devices. There
are no stairs, and the cell corridors can only be reached
by elevators, furnished with safety devices. There
is piped-in tear gas, and X-rays for searching purposes.
The cells are 9 ft. by 9 ft., much larger than the
Toronto jail, and are all fitted with plumbing fixtures.
There are 955 individual cells, which are operated with
113 men, of which 1$ are on night duty. As in Toronto,
there are many dangerous prisoners, and there is a
turnover as high as 400 per day. There is also what is
known as a n gang i! locking system.
In 1941 this building cost six and a half
million dollars, and it is estimated that it would cost
at least double that at the present time. A jail of
this size and description would ideally suit the County
of York, but regard must obviously be had to the huge
cost, and to the existing facilities at the Don Jail,
which are reasonably adequate if confined to the purposes
for which th^y are suited. The quarters are not
unsuitable for short-term prisoners. Thirty-five
p^r cent of the inmates arc serving five-day sentences
for drunkenness, and a great many more are on short
terms. I think, however, that it is obvious that a
new security wing is essential, and there should be
incr...; :>ed handling facilities. In addition, a proper
hospital should be provided, with at least thirty bed .
to handle both mental and other cases, unless
accommodation for mental cases could bo previa I scwh
PART V .
JAIL STAFF .
Put ie s .
The appointment of the jail officials has
beon dealt with in Part III, The duties of the jail
officials aru to some extent defined by the regulations
made under The irublic Institutions Inspection Act
(Exhibit 5), otherwise the y are detailed in orders issued
issued by the Governor.- There are in existence order
books for guards and for Chief Turnkeys, which should be
signed by the officers concerned acknowledging the written
orders. It is clear, however, that probably owing to
lack of time, among other reasons, these order books are
not up-to-date (see Exhibit 73). In fact, in some
instances they are directly contrary to verbal orders
which have been issued. The witnesses called indicated
that there was considerable confusion about orders. It
is obvious that this situation must be remedied.
Wherever possible orders should be issued in writing and
acknowledged b}^ the personnel concerned.
D isciplin e .
In spite of the low morale described in Part
III, the discipline of guards is generally good. While,
for reasons we have seen, it has been difficult to obtain
men of the desired qualifications, I definitely formed
the opinion that the guards generally are of a good type.
The employees struck mo as conscientious and hard-working
under trying conditions. Undoubtedly some employees do
the work of others not so efficient. This must be
remedied; inefficient members of the staff must be
relieved of responsible duties or weeded out as
satisfactory replacements are obtained, and suspects
Apart from Morrison, whose case I have
already dealt with, the evidence given before me fell far
short of establishing connivance with prisoners on the
part of anyone on the jail staff. However, some
suspicion was cast on one man, who was suspended, and
from what I have said it is clear that the possibility
of inside assistance can by no means be dismissed.
The personal history and records of the
members of the staff have been filed as Exhibit 9. I
do not think there is anything to be gained by
summarizing these except in the case of senior officers.
It would be obviously unsatisfactory for me to give my
opinion of the capabilities of the various guards
merely from having seen some of them in the witness
box. Close observation of their performance of duties
is essential for a proper assessment. I have, however,
made some observations concerning individual guards in
The present staff of the jail consists of
the Governor, Senior Deputy Governor, Deputy Governor,
4 Chief Turnkeys, 56 Turnkeys (Guards), 2 Counsellors,
1 Cook, 1 Property man, 1 Clothing man, a Bookkeeper
and 2 assistants, 1 Clerk, 3 Engineers, 1 Surgeon and 1
Male Nurse, a total of 84. In the female section there
are 7 Matrons.
Thomas V < 7 . Brand , age 43, is the present Governor of the
jail, and is now under suspension. Before the last
war he was ngag< d in farming. lie joined the army early
in the war as a gunner. He worked up through the ranks
to Regiment rgeant Major, which rank he held when he
retired in 1946. He served from D-Day until the end
of the war in Europe, and was awarded the M»B,E. He
joined the Department in August, 1946, as a guard at
Burwash. He was first promoted to second in command
of a shift, and then placed in charge of an outlying
camp, with the rank of Sergeant. While in this
position there was a riot at Burwash, which did not
spread to his camp. This impressed Colonel Basher, who
six months later had Mr. Brand promoted to be his
Assistant Superintendent at Guelph Reformatory. He
held this position until the end of January, 1952, when
he was moved to the Toronto Jail, After being with
Governor Sanderson for a week he took over as Governor
on the 6th February, 1952.
The conditions described in this report were
generally in existence at the time he took over, and Mr.
Brand obviously did his best to cope with a most difficult
situation, his authority being restricted as described,
As we have seen, it was only a little over a month after
his appointment that Boyd was returned to the jail.
Mr. Brand made a number of recommendations,
which were mostly carried out, with regard to improve-
ments and security, among which are the following:
1. He restricted traffic behind the jail;
2. Improved facilities for tear gas;
3. Checked up on the number of knives available;
4. Attempted to introduce a system of signing for
5. Placed an armed rifleman on the Isolation
Hospital overlooking the exercise yard during
6. Stopped possibilii Li of inmates getting wher
the bars had been sawed for the November escape;
7. Worked out with the police an electric alarm
system, operating from the Dome , from his office,
and from his residence, which would bring 50
police to the jail in three minutes.
S. Had blankets removed from the tables in the
9. Searched the exercise yard with a mine detector,
finding a tin cup, shoe horn and a pair of
10. Had a night light put in No. 3 Hospital .
11. Improved the plumbing fixtures in No. 9 Hospital
to minimize chance of hiding contraband;
12. Had fences erected outside the admitting door;
13. Recommended concertina wire on top of the jail
14. Recommended more floodlights;
15. Recommended change of the vehicle park;
16. Recommended steel cabinet for arms and tear gas;
17. Recommended more fasteners on window screens;
1$, Recommended that all jail employees be finger-
printed and photographed;
19. Recommended a new grill bu placed at the front
20. Recommended that the exercise yard be paved;
21. Recommended that a lever locking system be
provided for No. 9 Hospital and the Kingston
22. Recommended that No. 3 Hospital be divided into
a four cell unit like No. 9 Hospital.
23. Recommended that a Visitors' Waiting Room be
provided outside the jail.
From what has already been said, Mr. Brand's
difficulties may well be realized. It was a time
of strain due to the fact that prisoners knew of riots
taking place in other institutions. He was also
greatly hampered by the lack of proper assistance.
Mr, Jacobs , who was appointed Senior Deputy Governor,
was almost at once sent on a staff course at Guelph,
where he was injured during a riot, and he did not
return until after the escape of the prisoners. Mr.
Noble, as we have seen, had been placed by Governor
Sanderson on night duty, and the Chief Turnkeys are
extremely busy men during their hours of duty. This
meant that in effect the Governor had no Deputy and was
virtually on duty twenty four hours a day. Naturally he
felt the strain of this situation. One must have
sympathy for Mr 6 Brand under the situation described.
If he had been provided with an adequate staff the
escape might well not have happened. Nevertheless,
as I have remarked, I feel that the responsibility of
not keeping the four prisoners who e scaped under
constant supervision fell upon his shoulders. I have
reached the conclusion that Mr, Brand did not have the
executive ability nor experience to cope with the
difficult situation with which he was faced, and which
to a considerable extent still exists. He is an
energetic and conscientious employee, and undoubtedly
will be a useful servant of the Department in years to
come. It must, however, be realized that he only had
about six years rience in penal institutions, a
considerable portion of which was in subordinate
capacities, when he was appointed. Governor.
G eorge E, Jacobs was appointed Senior Deputy Governor
in April 1952, on the recommendations of Mr. Brand and
the Sheriff, no doubt with the approval of the
Departmental Inspectors. He has been with the jail
twenty two years, and has performed in every capacity.
He joined the Department after being with the Royal
Canadian Regiment from 1921 to 1926, having been
discharged with the rank of Corporal. As previously
stated, he was sbent at the time of the escape. He
was, however, on duty three nights relieving Noble just
before he left to take the staff course at Guelph.
Mr. Jacobs testified he had an order that a man should
be in Wo,. 9 Hospital at all times, but he was
perfectly frank in stating that he did not have enough
men to do so. Mr. Jacobs impressed me as a conscientious
officer, capable of carrying out his duties under proper
direction. It should be noted that he has never
actually performed the duties of Senior Deputy Governor.
Alexander Noble, age 60, now under suspension, is
Deputy Governor, and has held that office for three
years. However, he has alv r ays acted as Chief Turnkey,
or has been in charge at ni r .ht, and has never performed
the duties of Deputy Governor, He has been at the jail
since 1927, and is obviously experienced., I think 1 ,
also is a conscientious officer. e had
nothing against his record and was apparently well
thought of by Governors until the re r.
Sanderson, who, as aire I, did not a
similar view, i ntly pa 01 r,
n : e latter w | nted Governor. As
previously : I id, tl del tttera le
'■ »ve3 nor and oth ..■•■ . ice 1 I
escape on Mr, Noble, which I do not think was justified.
While Mr. Noble ? s supervision and work at night might
in some respects have been improved upon, in my view he
did the best that could have been reasonably expected
with the means at his disposal. He never ceased to
complain of the dangerous situation due to inadequate
staff . Mr. Noble, to my mind^ had a much better
idea of the situation at night than Mr. Sanderson or
Mr. Brand. For instance, he pointed out that
sometimes there were two to three hundred men to be fed
between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. in the one dining room, holding
only one hundred, and there are only 90 cups. This,
and the other work described, had to be handled with as
low as five men. However, as explained, he has never
actually performed the duties of Deputy Governor, and
it is impossible for me to decide as to his executive
Unfortunately, but perhaps not unnaturally,
bad feeling exists between Mr. Jacobs and Mr. Noble,
which has resulted in an intolerable situation. Each
is continually reporting the other to the Governor, and
complains that the other one is not telling the truth.
Alf r ed M . Bennett has been a Chief Turnkey for three
and a half years. He has had twenty four years service,
and consequently is not young. He was on duty relieving
Noble the night before the escape. His idea of the
orders and procedure at night coincide almost entirely
with that of Noble. He also impressed me as a
William J. V/o odside has been a Chief Turnkey for oi
ar and five months, after eight years service. He
had an excellent military record and was in tl
and Canadian armies for twelve years. He was awarded
the Military Medal. He struck me as being energetic
and efficient. In evidence he said: "Orders both
verbal and written came out so fast you cannot keep
track of them. You would need a secretary to keep
John W. Johnson has been a Chief Turnkey since 1949,
after seven years service at the jail. He has,
however, been with the Department since 1929. He
also seemed confused about the night time orders.
Ge orge A, Heath has been a Chief Turnkey for nearly
four years. He went to the jail in 1946. Mr. Heath
impressed me as definitely energetic and with ideas.
He indicated in evidence that there had been considerable
slackening of discipline of prisoners and that guards
in some instances were not backed up when they made
complaints. This, however, he says, is much improved
since the escape.
I concur in the. view of Governor Brand that
all four Chief Turnkeys are capable of carrying out their
duties. They take turns on the two day- shifts and
relieving Noble at night. Sometimes there is an extra
Chief Turnkey available for assistance during the
Dr. William H. Hi lls has been th. J; il Surgeon for f
and a half yeai , He I ad considerable traininj
other penal institutions, and is, I feel, fully
qualified for his position,
hospital is totally inadequate. He wo ' I U '
see the general hospital accommodation improved,
although serious cases are immediately sent to the
Toronto General Hospital. He examines all inmates
as soon as they are admitted. A few complaints reached
the Commission to the effect that cases had not been
attended to. However, the Provincial Inspectors,
Governor, and Chief Turnkeys all testified that they
gave prisoners full opportunity to make complaints, and
investigated all that were made. They said that on
investigation, any complaints that came to their attention
concerning medical attention were found unjustified.
His work is very onerous; for example,
sometimes on Mondays one hundred men have to be
examined. While there have been some cases of drugs
being smuggled into the jail, Dr. Hills felt certain
that this happened very seldom.
Dr. Gordon A. McLart y is a specialist in nervous and
mental diseases on the staff of the Toronto General
Hospital. Since 1934 he has done mental examinations
at the jail, and he substitutes for Dr. Hills when that
doctor is away. Dr. McLarty deplored the fact that all
mental cases, violent or otherwise, had to be placed in
one ward. He also suggested that there could be
improvement in the existing jail hospitals for non-
In addition to the doctors, there are
three men employed as guards and assigned as medical
orderlies. Two of these hav ntal experience. One
of these is on duty at all times, working directly
under the instructions of the doctor.
PART VI .
TREATMENT AND DISCIPLINE OF PRISONERS.
There is no suggestion of any brutal treat-
ment of the prisoners. In fact, the evidence indicated
that the recent tendency had been to relax restrictions.
Commencing with Mr. Sanderson, efforts were made to
occupy the prisoners' time by the introduction of such
games as Quoits, and a substitute for bowling in the
corridors. These changes were said to be beneficial
except that some privileges given had to be cancelled
because of abuse.
Governor Sanderson has made a considerable
study with regard to the treatment of prisoners, and has
lectured on this subject at Provincial staff courses.
The treatment of jail prisoners is a difficult problem
because the short stay of most prisoners prevents
introduction of educational and occupational systems
usually in force in reformatories.
Two Counsellors have been appointed, whose
duties are to look after the needs of the prisoners.
They supervise recreation, talk to the prisoners, look
after outside errands for them, and supervise the purchase
of newspapers, tobacco, etc.
I think it is obvious that every prisoner
who is charged by a guard is given a fair trial, and
I am convinced his complaints are given serious
consideration by the Governor and the Inspection staf '.
In general, tho treatment, of prisoners should
be described as good.
While prisoners during daytime have the
run of the corridors outside the cells, their general
comfort could undoubtedly be better . The cells are
very small and have no toilet facilities, necessitating
the use of night pails. Daytime toilet and washing
facilities are available in the corridors. There are,
however, beds with sheets and pillow cases, as well as
blankets. There has never been any complaint about
I have already mentioned the fact that due
to overcrowding beds have often to be placed in the
corridors, under most unsatisfactory conditions.
All senior officers, including the Inspection
staff, were of opinion that good food was purchased,
and it was prepared in an appetizing way. There is
an experienced Chef, and prisoners assisting in the
cooking are well supervised. Special attention is
given to the service of meals; for instance, even when
these are served in the corridors tablecloths have been
I am convinced that careful attention is
given to the food by the Provincial Inspectors, whose
visits are surprise ones.
The principal difficulty with the food is
its monotony, as menus cannot be changed much more than
weekly. ile good fresh meat is obtained, it is of
course not of the best cut, and probably not too
sea id. nus were filed (Exhibit 64) they
certainly appeared adequate.
I must find the jail food is good and
compares favourably with other penal institutions.
Apart from the security element, which I
have dealt with elsewhere, the clothing issued is
adequate and suitable,
Disc ipline .
The evidence of some witnesses indicated
that there had been deterioration in the discipline
owing to the relaxation of rules for recreational
facilities. Since the escape,, however, there has been
considerable improvement, and I now feel that discipline
of prisoners is' good.
Examination of the punishment book indicates
that strappings of prisoners have been ordered to about
the same extent by all recent Governors. Penalties
awarded were similar. Some of the penalties strike
me as rather small: for instance, three days solitary
confinement for being in possession of a file. Also
the evidence disclosed that prisoners, in particular
Leonard Jackson, made repeated efforts to bribe employees.
While these were almost invariably reported, no steps
were taken to discipline the prisoners. I think
prisoners should understand that any attempt to win
over a guard would be seriously regarded.
I received through the mail bitter complaints
regarding treal b, from VJatson, who I have already
mentioned as an associate of Boy al . I therefore
made caruful enquiry into the circu ' which
complained. It appears that after the escape there
was considerable unrest in the jail. Mr. Graham, the
Acting Governor, heard a persistent rumour that there
would be disturbances in the dining hall. He there-
fore ordered feeding in the corridors of the ''Kingston
t3rpe n prisoners. The prisoners would not eat, and
tension increased; they plugged cell keyholes to prevent
locking of the cells, and packs had to be removed by
the guards. Some prisoners regarded as dangerous were
moved, but other prisoners commenced to cause noise.
Upon the Governor speaking to them, what is known as
" jammer ing", i.e. the making of continuous hub-hub
or hammering with cups, etc. commenced. Five ring-
leaders were picked out and tried, and on what the
Governor considered ample evidence they were convicted
and sentenced to the strap. The approval of the Deputy
Minister was necessary for this sentence. This was
promptly obtained as he happened to be in the jail
superintending operations. Colonel Basher and Mr.
Graham, and other witnesses, were definite that Watson
was defiantly insolent both to the Deput}r Minister and
the Governor, apparently in the belief that the strap
would not be administered. Undoubtedly this firm
application of disciplinary measures has had beneficial
results. I feel also that a further improvement in
discipline is bound to result after an adequate staff
is provided and proper security quarters provided for
Exercise is provided for in the -incial
Regulations, and to i y i.nd is adequate. In fact I
think that Regulation 47 (see Exhibit 5) is in need of
amendment to give more discretion to the Governor to
restrict exercise in the open air. Under the
Regulations at present framed it is stated: "Every
prisoner should be allowed out unless he is under
sentence of death, attempts to escape, is found to be
plotting to escape, or misconducts himself." This
excludes close supervision of dangerous criminals
and those who have attempted to escape or have caused
trouble on other occasions while in custody.
PART VII .
The following recommendations are
respectfully made : -
(1) Obviously the chain of responsibility at
the jail is not working. There must be a new set-up
of the Senior Officer s s including:
(a) Appointment of a Governor of sufficient
executive ability, with full responsibility
to clear up the present situation;
(b) His salary should be adequate to attract
someone with the necessary qualifications;
(c) He must be given full authority and
sufficient administrative assistance so that
he will, as far as possible, be relieved of
detail. Weight must be given to his
re commendations as to appointment of
(2) A review of salaries of jail employees
should be instituted immediately. Salaries should
be fixed at amounts which will attract the desired
type of employee, and are comparable with wage rates
in the area and those for similar duties. The
authority to do this rests with the Province; I was
assured at the hearing that the City authorities would
have no objection to paying salaries so fixed. Jail
personnel should be definitely recognised as Provincial
Earnest consideration should be given to
the matter of pensions; the situation is described p. 3 5
(3) The staff for the present accommodation
should be increased to approximately 95 custodial
officers, divided into 40 on day shift, 25 on afternoon
shift, and 22 on night shift, with 5 extra for emergencies.
(4) A system of training of new guards is
essential. The increased staff should render this
(5) After the appointment of a Governor with
adequate assistance, I think that existing legislation
should be amended so as to relieve the Sheriff from all
responsibilities connected with the jail,
(6) There should be more attention given on
inspections by the Provincial staff to security measures:
examples are the lack of check-up in the handling of
keys (described on pages 26 and 27), and the inadequate
inspection of window bars in the daytime when cell
corridors are empty.
Consideration might be given to an increase
in the inspection staff,
(7) A new security wing, capable of accommodating
250 of the more dangerous type of prisoners, should be
built without delay, on land adjacent to the jail owned
by the City. It could be connected with the existing
building by tunnel or otherwise. The new building
should be provided with safety cell blocks and other
modern security measures. If construction is not
promptly undertaken by the Municipal admini; >n, -the
procedure set out in section 9 of The Jails Act may be
invoked; most of the conditions described in subsection
(1) of section 9 in my opinion definitely exist. The
new wing could be added to from time to time as need
arises, until ultimately the old building is superseded.
The Governor should have full authority
to designate what prisoners should be detained in the
new security wing.
(#) If arrangements cannot be made to handle
mental prisoners somewhere else, a new hospital to
contain 30 beds should be constructed, possibly in the
new wing, for all sick including mental patients. In
any event the present mental hospital should be closed.
Trained staff, instead of inmates, should be provided
for mental patients.
(9) While I am convinced the present jail building
cannot be efficiently modernized, some improvements in
security should be made: for example, improvement in the
window screens in the corridors. Since the escape much
has been done, such as reconstruction in No, 9 Hospital,
improvement of walls around the jail, and exterior
(10) It is essential that adequate handling
facilities be provided to look after the huge turnover
of prisoners. These facilities may have to be provided
in the new v/ing.
(11) Regulation 47 should be amended to increase
the Governor's authority regard!: restriction of
exercise of dangerous prisoners (see page 56), and he
should have full authority with respect to security
measures for such prisoners.
(12) For security reasons clothing issued to
prisoners should be marked so that it may so be easily
recognized in case of escape.
In conclusion, I should like to express
my appreciation to Counsel for their helpful presentation
of the evidence. I am also grateful to Inspector
Kelly of the Ontario Provincial Police, and Det* Sgt.
Simmons of the Toronto Police, for their assistance in
preparation and at the hearings. I also wish to
thank the other police officers who testified,
particularly Det. Sgt. Inglis for his excellent model of
the jail and the photographs submitted (Exhibits 3 and
1. Commission appointing His Honour Judge Macdonell.
2. Selected relevant Statutes of Ontario.
3. Photographs of Jail (1 to 20).
4. Scale Model of Jail.
5. Regulations made under The Public Institutions
6. Regulations made under The Municipal Act.
7. Civil Service Commission of Ontario re employment of
$. List of employees of Toronto Jail.
9. Personal files of all jail employees (3 tied bundles)
10. Blueprint plans of Toronto Jail.
11. Cell key and lock.
12. Summary of Accommodation of Jail.
13. Report of Evidence taken at investigation by T.
Gourlay et al, September $, 1952.
14. Letter dated August 14, 1952; Mayor Lamport to
15. Memorandum dated August 15, 1952; Colonel Basher
to Mayor Lamport.
16. (a) and (b) Files pertaining to ex-Guard James
17* Copy of Information and Complaint re ex-Guard
IS. Statement of cost for salaries and maintenance,
September 10, 1952, re Jail.
19. Inspection Report of Mr. Ayres, March 12 & 13, 1952.
20. Two Inspection Reports of J. Irvine; August 11, 1952,
and R. Ayres of June 4, 1952.
21. Inspection Reports of 1950-1951.
22. Charts of Watchmen's Clock, Inside Patrol.
23. Charts of Watchmen's Clock, Outside Patrol.
24. Two files re dismissed guards Bennett & Latimer.
25. Copy of Order-in-Council, #0C 2207/51, re Bonus.
26. Breakdown of Toronto Jail Count as at 2.30 p.m.
October 21, 1952.
27. Specimens of Departmental Bulletin of T.M. Gourlay
2£. Chief Turnkey's report, September 7, 1952 (Heath,
Woodside and guard's reports attached).
29. Specimen copy of guard's report,
30. Jail Inspection Reports of Ayres (October 10 &
11, 1951); Harden (August 3, 1951), and Lough (May
3, 9 and 10, 1951).
31. Metal "key T? found on Boyd,
32. Inspector Ayres report after investigation,
33. Memo, of Minister of Dept. of Reform Institutions,
dated November 23, 1949.
34. 1951 Annual Report of Dept. of Reform Institutions.
35. Copy of letter April 10, 1952, McMahon to Conover;
letter April 17, 1952, Conover to Basher; copy of
letter April 1$, 1952, Basher to Conover.
36. Correspondence of Sheriff Conover re purchase of
37. X-ray photographs of Len. Jackson ? s boot.
3$. X-ray photographs of Len. Jackson's civilian shoes.
39. Correspondence of Sheriff Conover, June 13, 1952
to Major Foote and Mayor Lamport; letter April 10,
1951, to then Mayor McCallum; and reply April 21,
40. Grand Jury Reports.
41. Three sawed bars.
42. Photograph of escape window (Dr. Smith).
43. Three pieces of cardboard from window ledge.
44. Wood form of key.
45. Pieces of newspaper found in #9 Hospital.
46. Two hacksaw blades.
47. Scale model of escape window,
4#. Criminal records of the four escapees.
49. Deputy Governor Noble T s report of 11:7 Shift,
September 7 and £, 1952.
50. Letter to Sheriff Conover concerning shortage of
staff from Governor Brand, dated April 23, 1952;
Gourlay letter to Sheriff Conover, April 2$, 1952.
51. Copy of Governor Brand's Instructions to guards
other extracts from Order Book.
52. Copy of letter, Governor Brand to Sheriff Conov<
dated August 25, 1952, re fences and barbed win ,
53. Copy of letter Governor Brand to Gourlay, dated
August 8, 1952, re fingerprinting jail employees.
54. Copy of letter, Governor Brand to Sheriff Conover,
dated August 26 , 1952, re exercise yard (hard
55* Report Book of Outside Patrol.
56, Sample of steel now used in #9 Hospital,
57. Report of Supervision and Police Patrol at Toronto
Jail area, from 12 midnight to 7 a.m. September
5$, Copy of written instructions re operation of alarm
59. Specimen form of certificate for nightwatchman
introduced by A. Noble.
60. Governor Sanderson's Instructions to Mr. Noble,
dated December £, 1951.
61. Attendance registers for June 30, July 1, 2 and
62. Key Inventory made September 13 and 14, 1952,
63. Memorandum to Turnkeys, dated May 3, 1951, Governor
Sanderson, re keys.
64. Toronto Jail Nenu, November 6-15, 1952.
65. Attendance registers 11:7 Shift, July 30, 31,
and August 1, 1952,
66. Attendance registers, July 14, 15, 16, 27, 2$,
and 29, 1952. '
67. Copy of letter Sheriff Conover to Governor Rayfield,
dated June 19, 1947, re retired guard A. King.
68. Copy of Memorandum of law re jail guards addressed
to Controller Lamport, October 20, 1949.
69. Enamel cup and socks, and plaster cast.
70. Attendance registers 11:7 Shift, August 16, 23,30,
and September 6, 1952.
71. Attendance registers 11:7 Shift, August 2 and 9, 1952
72. Attendance registers 11:7 Shift, June 14, 21 and 2$,
73. Loose leaf Order Book for Chief Turnkeys from
74. Copies of letters introduced by Charles Sander
Virgin to Conover August 29, 1951; Cunningham to
Virgin, August 7, 1951; Frost to Sanderson, Novcmbt r
75. Copy of lecture delivered by Sanderson to sta
76. Copy of statement given by Boyd to John Nimmo.
77. Copy of statement given by Valent Lesso (Suchan)
to John Nimmo.
7#. Copy of statement given by U.R.Jackson to John Nimmo.
79. Copy of statement given by Boyd to Inspector Frank
SO. Copy of statement given by 7. R.Jackson to Inspector
Si. Memorandum of salary range for constables, Toronto
82. Department of Transport Monthly Meteorological Report,
S3. Historical data re Toronto Jail.